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UAE-Saudi Business Forum kicks off in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, October 12, 2017

More than 1,000 officials, investors and entrepreneurs attended the UAE-Saudi Business Forum yesterday (October 11) in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The forum themed ‘Together … Forever’,  which was held at the Emirates Palace Hotel, included three sessions that covered key discussions on the national transformation plans under UAE Vision 2021 and Saudi Arabia Vision 2030; industrial integration and the role of women in the economy.

The forum also discussed key ways on how to enhance cooperation across eight main sectors, including industry, tourism, oil, aviation, construction, financial services, food stuff, gold, jewellery, medicines and medical equipment.

The forum is part of the joint retreat called ‘Khalwat Al Azm,.’ The outcomes of the event are aimed at enhancing trade, economic and investment cooperation, strengthening ties and opening new investment channels to promote diversification of sources of income, attracting value added investments and increasing the volume of non-oil exports.

The forum was organized by the Ministry of Economy, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development-and Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (ZonesCorp).

The UAE-Saudi Business Forum was opened with a welcoming speech given by Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, in which he announced that Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development has taken a number of measures and procedures that are focused on further enabling Saudi investors in Abu Dhabi--including the provision for all facilities and exemptions covered in the ‘Tajer Abu Dhabi’ and ‘Industry Pioneers’ initiatives.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, delivered the opening speech wherein he expressed his pride of the sincere brotherhood between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which represents a unique example of cooperation at the Gulf and Arab levels, openly demonstrated by the continuing efforts to enhance stability and growth of the region.

Al Mansoori said: “The UAE–Saudi Business Forum is a vital platform for further achieving greater economic, trade and investment cooperation, based on a joint strategy that focuses on investing in the development prospects and capabilities of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which are the two largest Arab economies, as well as benefiting from their huge commercial and investment potentials.”

He pointed out that the trade and investment figures and indicators reflect the depth of the strong ties between the UAE and Saudi Arabia. He also noted that the Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest trading partner of the UAE and its first largest Arab partner in 2016. The non-oil trade between the two nations witnessed a significant jump of 30 per cent over the past six years, from around Dh55 billion ($14.9 billion) in 2011 to more than Dh71.5 billion in 2016.

He added: “The political and economic challenges that we face require greater coordination to develop new approaches towards cooperation in the coming period with a wide participation of the private sector from both sides. The forum contributes to strengthening economic integration and exploring promising development opportunities and projects, as well as exchanging experiences and building new partnerships between the business communities in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.”

Al Mansoori highlighted the UAE’s efforts to develop a flexible, open and highly productive economic model and to diversify its economic base, noting that today, the non-oil sectors contribute more than 70 per cent to the UAE’s GDP. This further strengthens the foundation of the country’s transition to the post-oil era in line with Vision 2021 that aims to build a diversified, sustainable and competitive economy based on knowledge and technology.

“The UAE has focused its attention on strengthening the role of innovation in the development process and has worked through the National Innovation Strategy to catalyze innovative investments in seven key sectors namely renewable energy, transportation, health, education, technology, water and space,” Al Mansoori added.

The Minister also highlighted the UAE’ stop priority sectors in the UAE including industries, small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs), tourism, foreign trade, real estate, financial and logistic services, as well as emerging sectors such as the Islamic economy - all of which are of common interest with Saudi Arabia and thus considered as key areas for future cooperation.

In the framework of (KhlwatAl Azm), he also emphasized the importance of cooperation in civil aviation, lauding the deliverables of the sessions related to air transport that was held recently in Dubai and concluded with the development of a framework establishing a Common Aviation Market between both countries to address challenges and increase investment opportunities, as well as build partnership agreements in the logistics, airline and airports segment.

Dr Majid Al Qasabi, Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment, also underscored that the forum is a step towards cementing the bilateral relations and strong cooperation between the two close allies in key sectors, particularly in economy, trade and investments.

He further noted that both countries have agreed to hold the forum every two years after the mechanics and agenda are set, consistent with economic, commercial and investment interests and with the business sector as vital partner in economic growth and development in line with the visions of both countries.

Dr Majid also proposed that efforts should be made to institutionalize the forum’s agenda in support of its envisioned contribution to improve bilateral relations and collaboration between the business leaders of both countries, as well as seek solutions needed to overcome challenges that could hinder the effectiveness of the Saudi-Emirati trade and investment links.

On the sidelines of the opening session, three agreements and MOUs were also signed to enhance cooperation between the two countries. The first MOU was signed by both the UAE Minister of Economy and the Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment regarding strengthening cooperation and partnership in the field of entrepreneurship.

The second MOU was signed by both the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIK) and Al Dahra Holding to promote cooperation in agricultural investments, while the third MOU was signed between Hawkamah - the Institute for Corporate Governance and the Saudi Governance Center.- TradeArabia News Service




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